Coaches, like players, developed in ‘15-16 with FYHA
While that is definitely true with the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA), the program’s slate of dedicated coaches also made strides due to the Coaches Development Program, a program made possible by the procurement of a grant by FYHA parent and volunteer Kristi Smith.
“We knew we wanted to use the grant towards coaching with a focus on coaching development,” said FYHA Pee Wee travel team coach Nick Karastamantis. “We had a meeting early in the year with the coaches and went over what each coach seemed to struggle with. We came up with about 15 items and then we broke those down into five groups.”
One of the major struggles coaches admitted to was goaltending. FYHA brought in former NHL goalie Randy Exelby, who now owns Behind The Mask Hockey Shops, for some on-ice sessions and clinics.
“Randy was great,” Karastamantis said. “He brought in some of his students to work with our goalies. One thing he stressed to us was what age-specific skills can be taught to each age group and not just for goalies. I mean, you’re not going to have a Squirt team playing the trap, right? You might have some coaches that are just doing what they think is right when in fact, it’s not with the appropriate age group.”
Now that the season is over, Karastamantis can reflect on how the Coaches Development Program went this year.
“We had a follow up meeting recently and asked the coaches what they liked, what they didn’t like,” Karastamantis said. “We’ll keep this going and will implement different things next year, including reaching out to other associations so we can all learn from each other.”
— Matt Mackinder